Canada Day is Sunday, July 1, 2018.
Spending Canada Day in Vancouver? These top five events are the best way to celebrate all things Canuck. Canada Day falls on a Sunday this year, so the following Monday (July 2) is observed as a holiday. Make the most of the day and spend it enjoying everything from colorful (well, red and white) parades and waterfront parties to watching fantastic firework displays when the sun goes down. Best of all? Most Canada Day events in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are absolutely free, so you can enjoy a day of family-friendly fun for next to nothing.
Most of the locations are served by transit but can get very crowded, so plan your journey carefully and allow extra time to get there. Many celebrations take place all day so kids can also join in the fun before nightfall when the fireworks light up the sky to celebrate Canada's birthday.
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What: Granville Island's huge Canada Day celebration includes a Canada Day Parade, an official Canada Day Ceremony with cake, tasty food options from food trucks to restaurants, live music, art, and entertaining performers, and a multicultural fair. This is the best venue for families with young kids: bring a picnic blanket to relax and take breaks to let the kids run at the free Granville Island Water Park. There's also the Granville Island Kids' Market to keep them entertained if the sun becomes too much (or if there is a rainy day).
When: 8 a.m. - Midnight, July 1
Where: Granville Island, Vancouver, BC
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What: Canada Place hosts Downtown Vancouver's biggest Canada Day celebration with a free Waterfront Party that includes live music and entertainment on three stages. This is usually followed by the annual Canada Day Parade but in 2018 the end-of-parade party will be hosted in another location. The Waterfront Party is always a popular place to head for celebrations and the entertaining lineup usually features musicians, performers, kids' activities, street hockey, a circus show, live citizenship ceremonies, and a lumberjack show. Food trucks are on hand to feed the hungry masses and the Olympic Torch is usually lit in nearby Jack Poole Plaza to celebrate Canada's birthday.
When: Waterfront Party: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Parade starts at 7 p.m., July 1
Where: Canada Place
Canada Place also co-produces the Burrard Inlet Fireworks that are Number 3 on this list, so you can make an entire day of your visit and stick around to see the spectacular show too.
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What: Cap off your Canada Day celebrations with this pyrotechnic extravaganza! With barges in Dundarave and Coal Harbour, the annual Fireworks Show will be visible from northwest-side Downtown (Coal Harbour, parts of Stanley Park), West Vancouver (the seawall between Ambleside and Dundarave), North Vancouver (Lower Lonsdale).
When: 10:30pm - 11pm, July 1
Where: Vancouver Downtown / Coal Harbour
Note: You can't see the fireworks from English Bay or Spanish Banks / the southwest Vancouver beaches. You need to be on the northwest side of Downtown Vancouver.
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What: Steveston, Richmond's historic fishing village, celebrates Canada Day with the Steveston Salmon Festival. This fun festival includes a special themed parade and Steveston's famous salmon barbecue, where over 1200 pounds of wild salmon filets are grilled over open fire pits. For $16 per plate, you can enjoy a true taste of BC (get there early though, because the feast is over when they run out of salmon and it's a popular place to head!).
When: Steveston Salmon Festival is 6:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., July 1
Where: Steveston Village, RichmondContinue to 5 of 5 below.
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What: OK, this one is not actually in Vancouver itself, but it has to go on this list because Surrey's Canada Day celebration is both the biggest Canada Day event in western Canada and one of the biggest outdoor concerts in B.C. And, best of all, it's FREE! Stick around to see the amazing fireworks show, which follows the all-day party at 10.30pm and lasts approximately 30 minutes.
When: 10 a.m. - 10:30 p.m., July 1
Where: Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre, Surrey, BC